Chess Grading Systems give an indication of a player's strength and ability. Generally the higher a player's grading the better the player performs. In competition a highly graded player would generally be expected to beat a player with a low grading. If two players have similar grades, the outcome is not really predictable.
Of course, it does not always work like this. We have both lost to lower graded, or ungraded, players many times!
In any Chess game you can only get three results: you can win, draw or lose. (In a tournament you would generally get 1, ½ or 0 points for each of these outcomes.) Chess grading is therefore determined by how well you perform against established players who already have grades. For instance, to get a Chess Grading in Scotland you have to play at least 8 games against graded players under tournament conditions (and you must win or draw some of them) !
The Scottish Grading System is based on the ELO standard which is also used by FIDE, the World Chess federation. (BCF grades are based on a different system.)
As a general Rule-of-Thumb, children who are first graded generally start with grades in the range 300-600. By the end of Primary School the best players can reach grades of 1000 or more. Most adult Chess Club members have grades over 1000 and Grand Masters have grades over 2400.
The Chess Season generally starts in September and runs throughout the Winter, finishing in May or early June. (Most people find better things to do over the Summer.)
As performance generally improves with age and experience, up to around age 20, most Junior players have their age listed alongside their grade. A Junior's age is quoted as the age they are on 1st January in the middle of each season. e.g. a player who is aged 10 on 1st of January is called a J10.
|Fleet bay in the Stewartry of Kircudbright. Photo by Douglas MacGregor, July 2004.|